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Gorges to hike and walk near Topólia, in Chania region

List of Gorges near Topólia

  • 1.1 km
  • Topolia Gorge
  • 3 km
  • 1.5 h

The gorge of Topolia (Topoliano) is located in west Crete and it runs along the road leading to Elafonissi via Elos. The canyon actually starts near the village Strovles at an altitude of 450m, and exits near the village Topolia, at an altitude of 150m. However, the narrowest and most impressive hiking part of the gorge is located between Katsomatados and Topolia, where the side rocks are very high and steep. The canyon is crossed by the River Tyflos, which originates from Mount Dikeos. At the beginning of the narrow part, it is worth visiting the Cave of Agia Sofia, located just above the main road.

The canyon and the wider area host rare and endemic plants of Crete, while the Cave of St. Sophia houses a species of cave spider that lives only there (Pholcus creticus). According to local traditions, Topolia Gorge hosted fairies and the Minoan goddess Vritomartis. Here, the legendary Talos used to stop and enjoy the divine music of the fairies. When Talos arrived at the place, rested inside a big cave, drank water and fell asleep. Then, the fairies and elves of the river arrived, singing and dancing.

  • 2.3 km
  • Chalase Gorge
  • 4 km
  • 4 h

The Gorge Chalase, also known as Porofarago, begins close to the Sassalos village and concludes just before reaching the Makronas village, after a four-hour journey through lush vegetation. The gorge is fed by two primary streams that converge south of Sassalos; the Mylonofarago ravine that originates from the Mylones village, and the Kalogirou stream.

Navigating through the gorge can be quite challenging due to a significant landslide (referred to as ‘chalase’ in the Cretan dialect) at a certain point, and the absence of a well-defined path. Near Malathyros, approximately halfway through the route, the trail transitions into a dirt road that follows the riverbed all the way to Makronas. Just before reaching Makronas, we come across a historical site where, on August 28, 1944, German forces executed 62 civilian men from Malathyros as retribution for the activities of local guerrilla groups. The German atrocities committed during this time have yet to be brought to justice.

  • 3.9 km
  • Mesavlia - Deliana Gorge
  • 5 km
  • 1 h

The Deliana – Mesavlia Gorge, a point of contention between the villages of Mesavlia and Deliana, is situated 37km to the west of Chania. This disagreement is even evident in the area’s signage. The gorge begins in Mesavlia and stretches 5km to Deliana. A dirt road that runs alongside the riverbed makes the walk quite straightforward, taking approximately an hour. Originating from Mount Anavos, the river flows through the Mesavlia – Deliana Gorge, then the Roka Gorge, before finally reaching Nopigia beach.

The gorge is renowned for its lush vegetation, which is most vibrant in spring when water is plentiful. Not far from Mesavlia, you’ll find the cavernous chapel of Saint Paraskevi (Agia Paraskevi), which hosts an annual feast. Closer to Deliana, you’ll come across the chapel of Saint Photios (Agios Fotios).

The quickest way to reach the gorge from Chania is via Deliana, while the fastest route from Paleochora is through Mesavlia. From Deliana, you can hike (uphill) to Mesavlia and back, unless you’ve arranged for a pick-up from Mesavlia (2 hours round trip). Deliana and the nearby village of Panethimos offer several quaint, traditional taverns. Also worth a visit is the ruined monastery of Theotokos in the neighbouring village of Gra Kera.

  • 4.1 km
  • Sirikari Gorge
  • 6 km
  • 2.5 h

The Sirikari gorge, situated 55km west of Chania and 17km south of Kissamos, is nestled in a verdant area filled with canyons and streams. The paved road leading to Sirikari weaves through lush vegetation, offering a glimpse of the area’s beauty from the get-go. The gorge splits into two parallel paths here – Tsichliano to the west and Kioliano or Sirikariano to the east, both culminating at the Polirinia settlement, the site of the ancient town of Polirinia. The town’s ancient walls, still in a decent state of preservation, stand tall in its citadel, atop a hill with a panoramic view of the Kissamos bay.

Close to Sirikari, an enchanting forest unfolds, home to towering chestnut trees, quaint waterfalls, and babbling brooks. Although it isn’t the only chestnut forest in the Chania prefecture, with several others dotting the slopes of the White Mountains, its beauty and vastness set it apart.

Adjacent to Sirikari, in Sineniana, stand two well-preserved old watermills. A visit to the Church of the Assumption is also recommended, particularly on August 15th, when a traditional feast is held. The church, nestled in the chestnut grove, is surrounded by other trees like holm oaks, cypresses, and plane trees. A little further along, you can explore an abandoned village set amidst a stunning oak wood. Additionally, the Sirikari village houses the 15th-century Byzantine church of the Holy Apostles (Agii Apostoli), which is definitely worth a visit.

  • 6.8 km
  • Roka Gorge
  • 2 km
  • 2 h

The Rocca, Roka, Rocka, or Rokka Gorge, situated 32km west of Chania in the Kolymbari region, stretches for 2km from the village of Deliana to the village of Roka. The settlement features Trouli hill, which is home to the remnants of a Byzantine fortress.

Despite the ease of hiking through the gorge (typically a 2-hour trek), it can be challenging to traverse without getting wet during periods of water flow in the narrower sections. The gorge is adorned with numerous plane trees that provide a cool respite from the sun. The gorge’s vertical sides are incredibly tall and impressive at certain points. The main path follows the dry riverbed during the summer.

Upon exiting Roka gorge, you’ll encounter the Mesonisi settlement. Following a dirt road will lead you to Roka village and Trouli hill. You can climb up to the castle ruins for a breathtaking view of the surrounding areas, or unwind in the local coffee shop.

  • 9.1 km
  • Trahinos Gorge
  • 3 km
  • 1 h

Located about 35km southwest of Chania city, on the northern slopes of Mount Apopigadi, Palea Roumata is a verdant area. This region is made up of 13 neighborhoods, all part of the same village (Palea Roumata), spread across the slopes. Near the small settlement of Lidiana, the Vavouledo and Trachinos canyons converge, providing an ideal circular route with water until late spring.
The Trahinos Gorge, starting near the Trahinos hamlet, is fairly short but stands as one of Crete’s greenest gorges. Its walls are so narrow that they’re almost unnoticeable from above. The gorge is filled with dense vegetation, often casting shadows over the riverbed. Similar to Vavouledo, the Trahinos Gorge also features a hiking trail.

  • 9.4 km
  • Vavouledo Gorge
  • 3 km
  • 1 h

The Vavouledo canyon begins approximately 1km east of Hamalevri village, where the Hortes stream flows. A path follows the length of the canyon. Close to Lidiana village, the canyon merges with the Trahinos Gorge, and the combined river continues to the “cosmopolitan” district of Palea Roumata, Arhontika. Here, you’ll find taverns where you can enjoy a meal.

  • 10.3 km
  • Kandanos Gorge
  • 3 km
  • 1 h

The Kandanos Gorge is a site of remarkable natural beauty and historical significance, currently threatened by the operations of a large quarry. This gorge was the battlefield for the first armed conflict between locals and governmental forces during World War II. On May 24, 1941, Kandanos residents took up arms against German forces advancing towards their town, a day after the Battle of Floria, where all but one German soldier were killed. In retaliation, the Germans decimated Kandanos and its neighboring villages, executing numerous civilians. To this day, justice for the German war crimes committed in Kandanos and Floria, along with other martyred Cretan villages, remains elusive.

In addition to its historical value, the gorge is teeming with cypress trees and lush vegetation. It’s also traversed by a beautiful stone road leading to Chania, built by locals in the late 1920s. This road stands as a fine example of preindustrial construction.

The upper portion of the Gorge is known as Spina Gorge, named after a nearby village. The lower section, which begins where the gorge intersects the stone road near the Church of Agios Irineos and ends at Anavos, is referred to as Kandanos Gorge. Despite the different names, they are part of the same ravine.

  • 11.5 km
  • Kambos Gorge
  • 2.5 km
  • 1 h

Traveling along the western coast of Crete towards Elafonissi beach, you’ll encounter the picturesque village of Kambos, nestled within the Kissamos province. A brief detour off the main road to the west will bring you to the verdant Kambos canyon, the most westerly gorge on the island, which is fed by the small Koutroulis massif.

A scenic hiking trail winds its way through the canyon, beneath the shade of towering plane trees and alongside a river that flows year-round. The journey is punctuated by striking rock formations and culminates at a natural spring. From there, the path reconnects with the road descending from the village, leading to the subterranean churches of Agia Ekaterini and Agia Marina.

Continuing your trek along the riverbed can occasionally prove challenging due to thick vegetation and water, but the journey is worth it. From Agia Kyriaki, the path follows the riverbed to the secluded yet stunning Platanakia beach, where plane trees stretch their branches out to the sea.

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